Wildfly attracts 64 anglers

2008-06-21 00:00

John Voelker once wrote that "Most fishermen swiftly learn that it's a pretty good rule never to show a favorite spot to any fisherman you wouldn't trust with your wife."

But it's hard to keep a lid on what waters are fishing well when you’ve mix 16 teams of rabid anglers with a dash of Bells swapping fish tales at the legendary Notties hotel.

The second leg of the Hyundai Corporate Trophy Challenge with the Weekend Witness saw another 64 hopefuls descend on the WildFly waters of the Natal Midlands this last weekend, to thrash the waters and entice a few trout to their flies.

The proven format of allocating points for all fish caught and released and then ranking the team in each fishing session separately, once again had everyone guessing who would qualify, right up until the festive Saturday night prize giving.

In four five-hour fishing sessions, rotating around some of South Africa’s finest trout waters, the dedicated managed to land no less than 412 fish, with as always, far too many long winded renditions of the beasts that predictably got away. The real competition, as always, took place around the hearth of Notties pub as old acquaintances caught up and rekindled their common ashes which inevitably caused more than a few to regret it the morning after.

The first morning witnessed 117 trout netted, with 13 bleak souls failing to bother the scorers.

Now it never ceases to amaze me, how individual trout waters can shine one session and seem barren the next. This was, without fail, the only topic of conversation exchanged over lunch as the contestants tried to get a handle on which specific waters are producing the fish. Having spent the last seven years managing trout waters, the little that I’ve learned is, that aside from the obvious ingredients of water quality, temperature, subsequent food availability and correct stocking, there’s only one differential that dictates how well any water fishes is... the intrepid angler.

Obviously rod pressure (number of anglers fishing the water per annum) plays a defining role here, but in terms of judging a fishery, the application or ability of the angler is the ingredient that makes anything rise. No-one likes to think let alone admit that they can’t fish, pretty much like us all thinking we have a sense of humor, but the fact remains that some people can haul fish out of a veritable desert while most of us rely on lady luck gracing us with her presence.

It’s why a man should never take his fishing too seriously, because even those that are blessed with fish fingers can occasionally come unstuck, as Mark Yelland (winner of a silver medal at the world fly fishing championship) testified to, by not registering a fish on his first day…..not that he rushed to the water before 9am though.

Fly Fishing truly is the ultimate leveler, as Arthur Lello, from the weekend witness team found out. He had to have been the grumpiest man after his first session, not getting onto the scoreboard, but by the evening, a bag of ten feisty fish had him beaming like Cheshire cat.

Personal wagers were tallied as each fishing session added another dimension to the possible outcome. Pat Symcox and team mate Andy Standton took the competition to a new level by taking a personal bet on who would out fish each other, the loser having to take out an advert in this week’s witness acknowledging to the whole province who is the superior angler. Pat’s 2 fish winning margin giving Andy a slice of humble pie.

108, 103 and 84 fish in the following 3 sessions summed up the consistency of the fishing, as the team positions moved dramatically from one session to the next.

It took a lot of calculating to pick the 6 teams that will be coming back for the final of the event at the end of July. The Weekend Witness, captained by John Bredin took top honors, with Leads 2 Business a close second , and the Business IQ team finishing a solid third. Then 3 teams sat on 29 points and another 3 teams on 30……1 point (not even 1 fish…..just a single point) decided who went through, being Andy Standton’s Weekend Witness team, WBHO and the Business IQ masters snapping up the last place.

Top Angler went to Leon Vermeulen for his personal bag of 20 trout, with Scott Macintyre taking the largest trout of 65cm, about 8 lbs of the weekend

Unbelievably the tagged fish, which would have given the lucky recipient a R300 000 Hyundai Terracan, was actually caught and then before thinking released... his name is being withheld to protect him from his wife.

As usual the WildFly Choice awards rounded off the entertainment, raising some much needed funds for the KZN Crane foundation.

One leg left to go and then the qualifying teams will be back to share in the Million Rands worth of prizes up for grabs.

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